Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Battle of the Bacon, Part 1

This is the first part of a battle report covering multiple posts. You can find the navigation page here.


The Dwarfs maintained a relentless pace as they emerged from the foothills of the Black Mountains into the green farmland of the southern reaches of the Empire. The path they followed was ancient and well-worn, but the recent passage of the Orcs they pursued had left fresh scars upon the crumbling paving stones.

At the head of the column, Lord Dungrim swayed atop his enormous shield as its loyal bearers stepped carefully around discarded scraps of whatever the greenskins had been eating, as well as other signs that their digestive systems were in full swing. The Dwarfs had been marching for hours, and whilst this would normally be of no account for such hardy folk, the shieldbearers were starting to puff a little. It was a point of honour for Dungrim that he never dismounted from the shield whilst outside the comfort of his home Hold, Karak Hirn. Bearing one's Lord into battle was normally a much sought-after position amongst a Dwarf throng, but competition for such an honour when Dungrim marched forth had been decidedly thin of late. He could have sworn he heard his current bearers muttering to each other that they hoped this pursuit would soon be over, but it was hard to tell in between their wheezing and gasping. Dungrim had hand-picked these two from those who had been slowest to step back when volunteers were called for, and he had hoped they would display more enthusiasm when bestowed with such a noble duty. He made a mental note to choose the long way home once this dirty business had been dealt with and the Orcs run to ground.
Broken weapons and pieces of armour littered the path as they marched. It was a source of continual amazement to Dungrim that Orcs could leave so much rubbish in their wake, and yet still have weapons and armour to bring to bear when the time for battle arrived. He was beginning to wonder if they set out with extra supplies just so they could discard them during their travels.

Even if they did not leave so much trash along their route, this particular war band would have been particularly easy to track. A pair of great furrows had been gouged into the earth all along the path. Apparently the Orcs had some of their crude catapults with them, and it was clearly beyond them to use wheels or any sort of sled to ease their passage. The things had been dragged for untold miles, which was an impressive display of brute strength and endurance. Most likely a pack of Trolls or Ogres was doing the heavy lifting – either that, or the Orcs they pursued were far more numerous than the Rangers had led them to believe.

Speaking of Rangers, as they followed the path around the curve of a hill, Dungrim found a pair of them standing in the road before him, waiting for the column to arrive.

Lord Dungrim,” one of them addressed him with a complete lack of ceremony. If anything, he had a slight look of distaste upon his face as he took in the sight of the noble Dwarf Lord in his gleaming gromril and his wheezing, staggering shieldbearers. “We have caught up with the Orcs. They stopped to attack a manling farmstead just off the path. I don't know why, but they seem to be taking a long time to move on.” As he spoke he gestured toward a trail of smoke that could be seen rising in the distance. “We can be upon them in a matter of minutes.”

Lord Dungrim was sure he imagined the sigh of relief that seemed to emanate from his shieldbearers.


A few miles away, chaos reigned around the small human farm. The humans had fled hours before when the first howls of the Goblin Wolf Riders began to echo around the valley. They had little time to grab their belongings, and they had been forced to leave their livestock behind. Now the farmyard was swarming with Orcs, and if the deafening cacophony of roars and bellowed insults was anything to go by, a riot was about to break out.

The subject of their argument now huddled in the centre of the farm's pig pen. Several full-grown and rather fat pigs were keeping as far away as possible from the seething, bellowing mass of tusks and weapons that milled about the outside of the fence.

At the centre of the roaring mass of greenskins, a pair of barely-dressed Savage Orcs had each other by the throat. Their warpaint-smeared faces were inches apart as they snarled and bellowed. Wotgit, boss of da tribe's boar riders was having a disagreement with Grobsnak, boss of Da Kleenskin mob. Wotgit (along with all of the other Boar Boyz and many of the other surrounding Orcs) was of the opinion that the pigs should be eaten immediately. Such compelling arguments as “Dey look so tasty!” and “Dey iz too fat to run away!” could be heard.

But Grobsnak had other ideas. “Dey iz humongous piggies! Az big as your boar, Wotgit! I wanna ride 'em! We can all be piggy riderz!” Apparently the shared ancestry of domestic swine and wild boars was not lost on Grobsnak, although his idea of what made a suitable mount perhaps betrayed his current status as a foot-slogger.

Dey ain't got no tusks!” shouted Wotgit, “and dey is soft and squishy and fat and juicy...” his remaining words were lost as a tide of drool rose unbidden at the thought of the feast that awaited them. Overcome with the desire to eat the pigs, he reached for his knife. Seeing his hand move, Grobsnak did the same.

This sudden escalation in the debate was interrupted by an ear-splitting roar from Gorgor Ironbreaker, the tribe's Black Orc Big Boss and bearer of the war band's battle standard.

Wot iz goin on 'ere?!?” he bellowed. Even with the unbelievable din coming from dozens of over-excited and rather vociferous Orcs, Gorgor's earth-shaking voice was enough to bring a sudden stillness from all in the area. He glared around at the gathered boyz, his huge axe already drawn and his eagerness to put it to use apparent on his brutally ugly features.

Next to him stood the tribe's Shaman and leader, Little Foot. He gazed inscrutably at the scene before him. His stare lingered upon Grobsnak and Wotgit, who had now released each other and were standing side-by-side, trying to look inconspicuous. The longer the shaman looked at them, the more nervous they became. Orcs all around them started to shuffle backwards, glancing nervously into the air. Little Foot was named for his particular fondness for summoning the great green Foot of Gork and using it to resolve all of his problems in a less than subtle (and often rather messy) fashion. It would be quite his style to mash both of the troublemakers into a squishy paste rather than try to sort out whose side of the argument might actually have more merit.

As the moment dragged on and Grobsnak and Wotgit looked increasingly terrified, a Goblin mounted on a huge wolf raced around the nearest farm building in a skittering cloud of grass and dirt. He raced directly toward Little Foot and his off-sider, hauling his panting beast to a halt a few yards from them. “Boss! Boss,” the Goblin squealed in apparent agitation, “da Stunties are following us! Dey iz just over dat hill!” he gestured rather frantically at a large hill not far from their position.

Gorgor wasted no time upon hearing the news. “To armz!” he bellowed so loudly that the Dire Wolf jumped and the Goblin toppled from his saddle with a squawk. “Get da lobberz and Trollz ready! We got Stunties to kill!”

Looking back, Little Foot noted that Grobsnak and Wotgit had had the presence of mind to disappear when the Goblin interrupted. Somewhat disappointed, he released the arcane energies he had been gathering to him. No matter, he would soon have other victims to stomp. There was something very satisfying about the sound Stunties made when Gork started to dance...

Mustering the Dwarf Throng
Dungrim's Dwarf Throng
  • DtL Dungrim the Lonely
    Dwarf Lord on Shieldbearers with Great Weapon, Gromril Armour, Rune of Stone
    196 points
  • TS Thori Sidesplitter
    Dwarf Thane with Battle Standard, Master Rune of Gromril, 2 Runes of Iron, Great Weapon
    171 points
  • UI Umrik Ironbender
    Dwarf Runesmith with Gromril Armour, Rune of Stone, Shield, Rune of Spellbreaking
    93 points
  • War 20 Arri's Hairy Men
    Dwarf Warriors with Heavy Armour, Shields, Standard, Musician and Veteran
    210 points
  • Quar 12 Peg Leg's Crossbows
    Dwarf Quarrellers with Heavy Armour, Great Weapons, Crossbows, Standard, Musician and Veteran
    198 points
  • Th 10 Thunderbringers
    Dwarf Thunderers with Heavy Armour, Shields, Dwarf Handguns
    130 points
  • Ham 19 Dungrim's Guard
    Dwarf Hammerers with Heavy Armour, Great Weapons, Standard, Musician and Keeper of the Gate
    296 points
  • Iron 19 Iron Guard
    Dwarf Ironbreakers with Gromril Armour, Shields, Standard, Musician and Ironbeard
    296 points
  • GT Grudge Thrower
    80 points
  • BtF Borri the Fearless
    Dwarf Gyrocopter
    80 points
  • StU Snorri the Unhinged
    Dwarf Gyrocopter
    80 points
  • OG Organ Gun
    Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Forging
    170 points
  • Total: 2000 points
Finally we get around to organising a relatively “normal” battle report (games in excess of 20,000 points don't count)! It has been too long since I managed to arrange one of these. Hopefully next time the gap won't be quite to pronounced.

Anyway, with the arrival of the new Dwarf book, I have been quite keen to tinker with armies and try some stuff out. Unfortunately I don't have all the toys painted, and I still haven't even worked out what I am going to do about things like Gyrobombers and Irondrakes (simply buying the models would be too easy, right?). Elmo* and I decided to steer away from the tournament standard army sizes and went for something a little smaller instead – 2000 points. We felt this would be enough for it to feel like a proper battle between 2 armies, whilst being a little different from what people are used to seeing (I think we're all a bit sick of tournament lists).

2000 points was not going to let me field very many fancy toys in the list, but given how few of those were painted anyway, that was fine with me. I decided to try to keep things pretty simple, and to stretch the points about as far as I could. I started off with a budget Dwarf Lord. So budget in fact, that he got a massive 5 points of magic items – the Rune of Stone. I figured the Shieldbearers would give him enough protection in a game this size, and it would let me spend points elsewhere. He got a great weapon so he could deal some damage. The Battle Standard Bearer got slightly better protection given that I would need him to do some actual fighting. As such I gave him a 1+ armour save and +1 Toughness and Wound. If something could drop him now, it was doing pretty well. My final character was the Runesmith, who I gave a 2+ armour save and a Spellbreaker rune. He was just meant to stay alive and help toughen up the front line a little.

Nobody uses Dwarf Warriors anymore, so I started with a unit of 20 of those. It would give my little army the cheapest bulk available, and they would still be pretty hard for most greenskins to shift. I also bought small units of Thunderers and Quarrellers, with the latter getting great weapons so they could double as a potential flanking unit.

Next I bought 2 Gyrocopters, which I suspect will be a mandatory inclusion in every Dwarf list we see. They're cheap, fast and tough. The great eagles of the Dwarf world – doubtless they would live short and eventful lives. I bought solid units of close to 20 each of Hammerers and Ironbreakers. The Hammerers were there because they're the most potent unit in the army, and I like the toughness of the Ironbreakers despite them being no slouches themselves (especially if they manage to charge).

The army was rounded out with a runed-up Organ Gun and a bog-standard Grudge Thrower. I couldn't justify investing runes in the stone thrower, but the Organ Gun really needs either an Engineer or the combination of the Runes of Forging and Accuracy to pull its weight and really scare people.

When you get down to it, it was a very standard sort of Dwarf army. A few solid blocks of troops, some supporting missile units and a couple of pieces of artillery. But I wasn't trying to do anything fancy – I'm still getting a feel for how the new Dwarfs perform in their designated roles.

My deployment wasn't really fancy. Elmo had a couple more deployments than me, so I couldn't really do much more than ensure one of my flanks was relatively anchored and keep my stuff together. I put the Gyrocopters on the flanks to give them a chance to react to any sneaky Wolf Rider moves around my lines. And with that, the Dwarfs were ready to roll.

*Elmo is really Nick Cook, but since his notes refer to himself as Elmo and me as Hoodling, I figure I will go with that instead.

Gathering da Waaagh!
Little Foot's Orc War band
  • LF Little Foot
    Savage Orc Great Shaman (Level 4 Big Waaagh!) on Boar with Lucky Shrunken Head, Fencer's Blades
    314 points
  • GI Gorgor Ironbreaker
    Black Orc Big Boss on Boar with Battle Standard, Heavy Armour, Talisman of Preservation, Enchanted Shield, Armed to da Teef
    181 points
  • SO1 18 Da Red Faces
    Savage Orcs with Additional Hand Weapons, Standard, Musician and Boss
    197 points
  • SO2 18 Da Kleenskins
    Savage Orcs with Additional Hand Weapons, Standard, Musician and Boss
    197 points
  • Wlf1 5 Da Prowlerz
    Goblin Wolf Riders with Light Armour, Spears
    55 points
  • Wlf2 5 Da Pouncerz
    Goblin Wolf Riders with Light Armour, Spears
    55 points
  • SOB 9 Da Crimson Tide
    Savage Orc Boar Boy Big 'Uns with Spears, Shields, Standard, Musician and Boss
    269 points
  • OB 9 Da Bored Boyz
    Orc Boar Boyz with Light Armour, Spears, Shields, Standard, Musician and Boss
    215 points
  • Tr1 4 Dumb
    140 points
  • Tr2 4 Dumber
    140 points
  • Man Will it Blend?
    Mangler Squig
    65 points
  • Rock1 Goblin Rock Lobber
    85 points
  • Rock2 Goblin Rock Lobber
    85 points
  • Total: 1998 points
The Hoodling and I had been talking about doing another battle report for a while and with the release of the new Dwarf book we finally got our act together. With recent discussions of trying to revive the Orcs and goblins chariot army, I had recently tried to write a competitive list based around chariots and Boar Boyz. After finding out finding out the Hoodling had a mixture of about 80 Savage and normal Boar Boyz, I decided that the army I would use would contain a unit of each. Naturally any army that includes Savages, must also include a Savage Orc great shaman with the shrunken head. The next step in designing the list was to fill out the core tax, for this I ran two units of Savage Orcs, the 6+ ward and frenzy would help me more than a parry save. I also included 2 units of wolf riders to act as either redirectors, war machine hunters or to provide cover to my units. The rest of my army then consisted of a mounted Black Orc Battle Standard bearer, essential with 3 frenzied units, 2 rock lobbers for shooting at Gyrocoptors/war machines and a Mangler Squig. Although after constructing the list the Hoodling informed that he would need to perform some emergency repairs and highlighting on his retro collection.

So on the day in question, after arriving at the Hoodling's house and finalizing the pre game preparation, the first act of the game was to determine what spells the Savage Orc great shaman would know. The roll on the dice was a one, a two and two threes. After defaulting the one and swapping the second three to a six, he ended up knowing: Gaze of Mork, Fists of Gork, Hand of Gork and Foot of Gork.

For deployment the Hoodling won both the roll offs for determining sides and first deployment. For my deployment, I deployed the wolf rider units roughly on the thirds of the table, to maximize the chance of vanguard to a useful position. The Hoodling had focused most of his army to one flank, so I placed the Savage Orc units on this flank so as to allow for a fast paced game. Next I deployed the Savage Orc Boar Boyz Big Uns in a central location with the trolls flanking them to either side. The Orc Boar Boyz went on the far flank in hopes of surrounding the Dwarfs. Finally the mangler went in the middle of the table, this was to allow it to bound to the Dwarfs as fast as possible with minimal risk with the two Gyrocoptors.

The game was about to begin, the Dwarfs getting first turn due to a slightly cocked roll on the side of a movement tray.

Deployment, before any Vanguard moves are made.
The view across the table with both armies deployed
The Dwarf army deployed with the Gyrocopters wide on the flanks
The Dwarf centre with Lord Dungrim leading the Hammerers of Dungrim's Guard whilst Thane Thorri Sidesplitter and the Runesmith Umrik Ironbender join the Ironbreakers of the Iron Guard
The Dwarfs' view of the Orc deployment
The Orcs arrayed, before Vanguard moves
Both Little Foot himself and his off-sider Gorgor chose to lead the Savage Orcs of Da Crimson Tide
Will it Blend? dozes fitfully in the centre of the line. Probably drugged with mushrooms, or over-fed on something too slow to get away. Like Dwarf.
Da Pouncerz sneak forward on the Orc right flank and discover the forest is an Abyssal Wood.
Watch out for dem spooky treez, ladz!
On the other flank, Da Prowlerz head forth as well.
Do you fink dey can see uz?

Dwarf Turn 1
Dwarf Turn 1, including the Vanguard moves of the Goblin Wolf Riders.
Dungrim called a halt to the Dwarf advance when it became apparent to him that his shieldbearers needed to stop for a rest. It would have been most undignified to have toppled off his perch simply because the disgraceful weaklings could no longer hold him. “We shall make our stand here,” he announced. In truth, it was as good a place as any, with a hill around which to centre their line. Regardless, the Orc scum had clearly recognised the danger and were scrambling to form a line on the other side of the valley. Teams of Trolls had dragged their crude rock lobbers into some sort of a position, and roughly organised mobs of infantry and cavalry were gathering in preparation for the coming fight.

With a minimum of fuss and little in the way of actual command, the Dwarf line was soon assembled. The war machines were unpacked and wheeled into position, whilst the Gyrocopters were fired up and took flight from their cradles behind the cart ponies, taking positions protecting the army's flanks. So rapid was the deployment in fact, that the Orcs were still trying to whip their own lines into order when Dungrim gave the order to advance.
Snorri the Unhinged launches himself into the fray
The scouts of the enemy army were better prepared than the main Orc force, and Wolf Riders had slunk forward on either flank. The Gyrocopter pilots saw this and needed no encouragement to engage them. On the right flank, Snorri the Unhinged launched his machine forward with reckless abandon, flying so close to the ground that the angled rotors threatened to hack the Goblins from their saddles. This clearly unnerved the wolves, and Snorri was able to cut down two of the riders with his axe before they could regain control of their unhappy mounts. The roar of the machine and the screams of the dying were too much for the remaining Goblins, who turned and raced for the safety of their own lines, only to find that the rickety Dwarf flying machine was faster than it looked. The remaining Wolf Riders were despatched and Snorri finally arrested his momentum right in front of dozens of waiting Savage Orcs.
Snorri's assault proves too much for Da Prowlerz, who break and race for their own lines, only to be run down by the rapidly moving Gyrocopter
Are you sure you want to stop there, Snorri? They can see you...
Borri the Fearless also engages, although he has to fly between the trees to do so
On the left flank Borri the Fearless proved just as foolhardy as Snorri, flying his Gyrocopter straight through the trees to reach the approaching Wolf Riders. As skilled as his piloting was, his assault was obviously slowed by the need to negotiate the wood and he only had time to fell a single Wolf Rider. With their general close behind them the Goblins held their ground and fought on, halting Borri's brave advance.
Only one of the Wolf Riders would perish, but at least it meant Borri would be safely in combat
Dungrim decided that the brief respite would have to be enough for his shieldbearers and ordered his Guard of elite Hammerers forward off the crest of the hill. The Ironbreakers of the Iron Guard kept pace with them to their right, and even the Thunder Bringers shouldered their handguns and advanced slightly before settling into a more advantageous position, within range of the enemy lines. The crew of the Grudge Thrower set their sights on one of the Goblin Rock Lobbers, however they were still finding their range and the shot landed well off-target. They muttered about the cheapness of Lord Dungrim and his refusal to furnish them with a properly crafted machine with runes, but he pointedly did not hear their complaints.
Can you believe it, boss? Da stunties iz actually walking toward uz!
Far on the right flank, the Warriors of Arri's Hairy Men moved up cautiously, using the hedges as a anchor for their flank. The Organ Gun rather coughed and spluttered next to them, with only half the barrels firing despite the Rune of Forging suddenly flaring brightly on the barrels. The crew scrambled to address the problem, but the volley itself landed only a glancing hit on a Troll, which shrugged it off entirely.

Old Peg Leg's Quarrellers snorted derisively at this potent display of newfangled technology, then took aim with their tried and true crossbows. Even at this range they were able to land several telling shots of the Savage Orcs of Da Red Faces, however their fanatical belief in the potency of their warpaint and tattoos allowed them to shrug the worst of it off, “Just a flesh wound! I still got another arm!” and only one of them fell.

Orc and Goblin Turn 1
Orc and Goblin Turn 1.
With the line more or less in order, Little Foot gave a silent nod to Gorgor, who bellowed the order to advance. The boom of his powerful voice helped keep any thoughts of animosity at bay, and the line moved up in a controlled shamble.

On the left of the line, the Savage Orcs had watched the Dwarf Gyrocopter savage the Wolf Riders before landing insolently right in front of their lines. Obviously this could not be tolerated and Da Red Faces roared and charged straight at him. As crazed as Snorri might be, he could see where that particular fight would leave him and hauled across on the stick, sending the Gyrocopter whirring sideways, directly away from the charging wild Orcs. Even as he did so however, he found himself face-to-face with yet another regiment of savages. Da Kleenskins followed the lead of their comrades and launched themselves at the fleeing Dwarf who hurriedly yanked the machine around and fled headlong for his own lines. His hasty reactions saved him and none of the charging Savage Orcs could match the pace of his retreat.
Da Red Faces charge at the Gyrocopter, which prompts Snorri to flee right into the path of more Savage Orcs...
...who also rush toward him, resulting in him turning and heading straight for his own lines
All under control, nothing to see here.
Perhaps distracted by the spectacle of the wildly enthusiastic Orcs tripping over each other in their efforts to get to the fleeing Dwarf flying machine, the Goblin crew of the Rock Lobber behind them failed to notice that one of the Trolls who had helped haul the thing into position had also absent-mindedly wiped some of its corrosive drool on one of the upright posts. The roughly hewn timber was no match for the damage this caused, and though it held together as the Goblins loaded the machine, the force of its release was too much and the catapult splinted to pieces in a shower of broken components and squealing, fleeing crewmen.

The crew of the other Rock Lobber saw this mishap and were far too busy checking the workings of their own machine to actually care about where their first shot landed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the wildly fired rock landed nowhere near their original target of the enemy stone thrower.
The Mangler Squig heads straight for the centre of the Dwarf lines, who brace themselves for the potential impact.
Gorgor did his best to ignore this awesome display of greenskin engineering and instead grunted and gestured an order at the nearby Trolls. His intent was apparent, and one of them stepped across and punted the tribe's enormous Mangler Squig (known affectionately as “Will”, which is short for “Will it Blend?”) up the backside. The beast had been dozing fitfully, but snapped away with a roar, even as it was propelled toward the Dwarf lines. Unprepared as it was, it still managed to bite off the leg of the Troll that had kicked it as an appetiser. The Troll toppled over unceremoniously, but immediately dragged itself upright again, during which time a new leg had already grown to replace the first one. The Trolls stomped forward behind the tumbling Mangler Squig, completely unconcerned about the whirling mass of teeth and general grumpiness.

Da Bored Boyz on the right flank yawned disinterestedly and nudged their boars forward around the Wolf Riders as they struggled with the Gyrocopter attacking them in the forest. “Dis ain't much of a battle eh, boss?” asked one of the Orcs. “I seen better,” agreed their leader.

The lack of interest displayed by da Bored Boyz apparently got Little Foot's attention, and he decided it was time to wake them up a bit. With a strange growl and wave of his staff, he summoned forth the Hand of Gork. An enormous, eerie green hand descended from the clouds above and scooped the regiment up before dropping them rather more roughly than was necessary, threatening the flank of the Dwarf Thunderers. It was probably for the best that they were now out of earshot of their Shaman, given their reactions. “Well I guess dat was a fing eh boss,” grunted the first Orc. “Wake me when somefink interesting 'appens” replied their leader with another yawn.
Da Bored Boyz arrive magically in the flank of the Dwarf army, with the Thunder Bringers in their sights
Summoning the Hand of Gork was all well and good, but it was not where Little Foot's heart truly lay. With far more enthusiasm than control, how bellowed another chant and gestured wildly as he swayed on the back of his boar. Glowing green energy surged through him and blasted the orc behind him from his saddle, but his warpaint saved him from any real harm himself. With a final wave and a roar, he unleashed an unstoppable Foot of Gork upon the hapless Hammerers of Dungrim's Guard. They saw it coming, but there was little they could do, slowed as they were by the exhausted shieldbearers still staggering under the weight of their Lord. Gork's aim was less than perfect, but the damage was still considerable and a dozen of the finest warriors in the Dwarf army were pulverised by Gork's great warty, taloned foot.
Playing footsies: Foot of Gork minces most of Dungrim's Guard
An unruly cheer went up from the Orc lines, with none cheering more loudly than Grobsnak and Wotgit, who were very happy to see Little Foot having his fun at the expense of someone other than them. The only ones who didn't cheer were the Bored Boyz (who were decidedly underwhelmed by the display) and the Wolf Riders who struggled on against the Gyrocopter. Borri the Fearless managed to hack down two more of the Goblins, but still they held their ground.
Borri fights on, trying to hack his way free of Da Pouncerz so that he can intercept the advancing Mangler Squig
Snorri heads for his own lines, chased by multiple packs of lunatic primitive Orcs
You can find part 2 of the report here.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I have both Dwarf and O&G armies...I am hoping for a Dwarf victory here, though.